Passenger dies after going into distress on Air Canada flight
Published Thursday, April 6, 2017 7:49AM PDT
Last Updated Thursday, April 6, 2017 3:45PM PDT
A 78-year-old woman who went into medical distress on an Air Canada flight from Toronto to Vancouver this week has died, despite a heroic effort by her fellow passengers to save her life.
Witnesses said the woman became extremely ill then unresponsive on board the 314-passenger flight as it was travelling somewhere above Saskatchewan Tuesday night.
Several people tried to help her, including two doctors and a nurse, and the plane made an emergency landing in Calgary so she could be rushed to hospital.
Unfortunately, her family confirmed Thursday morning the passenger, identified as Surjit Kaur, has since died.
One of the men who tried to save her, Vancouver resident Hayden Ordel, said they did everything they could, but it was an uphill battle.
"We were literally having to pump her chest as fast and hard as we could," he told CTV News. "For 35 or 40 minutes she was unresponsive in the air."
Ordel has first aid training for his work in the film industry, but said he’d never performed CPR outside of a training scenario. He was assisting three medical professionals, who also used a defibrillator to monitor Kaur's condition.
The passenger’s adult son was accompanying her on the flight, and watched the group's frantic efforts to save his mother.
Paramedics met the plane when it landed at the airport in Calgary, and there were initially signs of hope for the senior. Ordel said the captain announced that the passenger was responsive when she was taken to hospital, though she remained in critical condition.
The plane was eventually refueled and continued on to Vancouver.
With files from CTV Vancouver's Sheila Scott